Results 1 to 7 of 7

Thread: Aircraft numbering

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2019
    Location
    Barrie, Canada
    Posts
    14
    Thanks
    1
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Default Aircraft numbering

    Hello,

    Im looking at my Dads log book and Sqn ORBs and am curious why sometimes he writes that he was flying in (for example) aircraft W and other times he records a two letter and 3 serial number combination.

    He was with 77 Sqn, so I know the KN letters and the single letter denote the aircraft, but did all planes at 77 Sqn have KN, but not all had a A-Z letter?

    Were there always letters on the planes (seen in different images on the forward facing flat part of the landing gear and either side of the roundel)? Or were there sometimes just the Sqn prefix letter only?

    I wonder why he sometimes just used the letter and other times used the aircraft serial number?

    Thanks.

    Mike
    Mike Anglin

    Barrie, Canada

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Sydney Australia
    Posts
    672
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 2 Times in 2 Posts

    Default

    Hi Mike,

    I have seen examples where an aircraft might be XX- B with a small 2 after the letter B if there was already an aircraft XX-B on the Sqn perhaps your Dad was trying make the difference between the two aircraft by using its registration letters and numbers.

    Regards,

    John.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Hornsea, East Yorkshire, UK
    Posts
    3,797
    Thanks
    1
    Thanked 23 Times in 22 Posts

    Default

    Hi Mike

    No definitive answer I'm afraid.

    The letters KN should not appear on an aircraft without the individual letter and as John states once the number of aircraft reached a certain number (some letters may not have been used) a 2 (squared) or a bar over the letter was added.

    As for log books, there was no specified format for recording the aircraft, it might have been left to individual choice or laid down in squadron policy.

    Malcolm

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Dublin
    Posts
    4,441
    Thanks
    4
    Thanked 22 Times in 22 Posts

    Default

    AS you say above, ORB and Log books can be a mix.

    The two letter, three digit number you mention is the aircrafts Air Ministry serial number, theres a database of these here:
    http://www.rafcommands.com/raf-serials/

    These are the small serials typically located very close to the tailplane on RAF aircraft, usually on the lower rear fuselage.

    The, in this case, KN-W, is the internal Squadron number allocated to the aircraft.

    So, an aircraft lets say, Mosquito KA112 might be delivered to 999 Squadron and be given Squadron codes XX-A, it might then be allocated to 998 Squadron and given that's squadrons code ZZ-H. So in each units ORB, its full ID would be

    KA112/A - but a crew member or clerk might type this as simply Mosquito A or Mosquito 112/A or just Mosquito KA112
    KA112/H - but a crew member or clerk might type this as simply Mosquito H or Mosquito 112/H or just Mosquito KA112

    The KA112, in this case, remained with the aircraft through its life, the individual letter changed between units and maybe even while with a unit at times.
    its a hodge podge mix up of all sorts

    Coastal Command in particular tended to/officially only apply the Squadron individual letter to the aircraft, dispensing with the two Squadron code letters completely.
    Dennis Burke
    - Dublin

    Foreign Aircrew and Aircraft Ireland 1939-1945
    www.ww2irishaviation.com

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Lancashire
    Posts
    525
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 3 Times in 3 Posts

    Default

    It is possible to be confused about CC, because during the middle war years they abandoned the two-letter system for identifying their squadrons, but allocated a number to the squadrons at each base - 1,2,3 etc. The unit with 1 would often not display this digit. Full codes were normally applied before and after this system was in use. Where only one unit occupied a base, there'd be no need for any squadron number at all, or perhaps any squadron identification at all, but this would be most common overseas where units were more spread out, and in that case can be seen on other types too.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2019
    Location
    Barrie, Canada
    Posts
    14
    Thanks
    1
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Default

    Thank you John, Malcolm, Dennis and Graham,

    Upon further review, I think I figured out my Dad's system.

    If he had flown in the plane before, he just used the call letter. If it was the first time in that plane, he used the serial number on that flight and subsequently used the call letter on any additional flights.

    Cheers!

    Mike
    Last edited by anglin.mj; 23rd January 2019 at 20:26. Reason: Spelling
    Mike Anglin

    Barrie, Canada

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Sydney Australia
    Posts
    672
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 2 Times in 2 Posts

    Default

    Hi Mike,

    That makes sense.

    Cheers,

    John.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •